18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Peace Hill Ruin from Dennis Bay, St. John, USVI

This underwater split-shot was taken in the crystal clear waters of Dennis Bay, St. John, United States Virgin Islands. Above the palm tree littered coastline lies Peace Hill, as marked by the ruin of a sugar mill in the top right corner. In the Caribbean, sites such as these have taken on newfound beauty in the past centuries. In 1718, the mill was constructed as one of 24 on the island for sugar production, a popular export for the Caribbean during this period. Enslaved Africans were used to operate the sugar mill under brutal conditions laboring throughout the year. Such a situation holds an interesting juxtaposition; the atrocity of slavery in a beautiful tropical paradise. Today, the brutal history of slavery in the islands now lies in ruin, as the natural beauty of the tropics completely takes over and provides a refreshing energy to a once dejected location.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2019
Date Uploaded: 07.2020
Photo Location: Dennis Bay, St. John, USVI, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
Camera: ILCE-7SM2
Copyright: © James Sullivan